ASYLUM seekers involved in the Manus Island riots were moved to a resort hotel in Port Moresby paid for by Australian taxpayers.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has launched an internal probe into the use of the Gateway Hotel which could leave the public with a bill of tens of thousands of dollars.
“The matter has been brought to my attention and I will be asking my department to advise me on what alternative accommodation arrangements were available, their costs and why they were not used on this or any other occasions,” Mr Morrison said.
A group of nine injured asylum seekers were guests at the Gateway Hotel following the riots sparked by the detainees.
Earlier this month one of the nine remained in the hotel, which costs at least $200 a night, six weeks after the riots.
Mr Morrison’s office would not reveal what security arrangements were in place at the hotel.
Other hotel guests saw the asylum seekers regularly receiving room service meals during their stay.
The hotel features a lagoon-style pool, bars, restaurants and a pizza outlet.
The conditions at the hotel are in stark contrast to the overcrowded prison-like atmosphere on Manus Island where asylum seekers are housed in stacked shipping containers.
Mr Morrison’s spokesman said asylum seekers had no access to alcohol.
The hotel has 130 rooms and 64 apartments and the most basic rooms come with cable and satellite TV, internet and coffee making facilities.
The rooms start at $200 a night for a deluxe room and cost up to $266 for the suites.
Julian Leembruggen, a spokesman for Mr Morrison, said asylum seekers regularly stayed at hotels in Port Moresby while awaiting transfer to Manus Island.
“Accommodation is booked based on a range of operational requirements, including security considerations and availability,” he said.
It is understood the asylum seekers would come and go making daytrips from the hotel to medical appointments.
The February riot at Manus Island occurred after the detainees were told they had no chance of getting to Australia.
The detainees reportedly grew violent, abusing local guards and denigrating PNG.